Maybe some of you remember reading Wind in the Willows as a child. When Mr Mole and I have been on road trips we have listened to audio versions by Alan Bennett of the story. Then, one year I ordered 4 prints from Geldart in the UK for his home office wall.
Below is Mole, Ratty and Toad from the collection.
I think the nostalgic notion of wearing a smoking jacket has been on his mind ever since…so this year, I have made time to tackle this project. I searched for patterns and found this one:
And while it just looks super, after you buy it and open up the papers, you discover it is sorely lacking in suitable and necessary pieces. While the quilted lapels should be cut in all one piece, they actually do NOT have any facing pieces nor a top collar piece nor lining. The directions show construction for a different notched collar and they expect you to make up your own missing pieces. There are no expected notches for matching the pieces either. Thankfully there are “straight of grain” lines and closure markings but that is it.
Also interesting is the fact that the purple model has it closed right over left.
The pattern is for the shorter higher lapel but even then they do not include the pattern pieces. If you want the deeper lower shawl collar…you are out of luck unless you know how to draft patterns.
Despite the disappointing and crappy start, I made a muslin to work out the bugs. Lots of draglines to pin out make this a little challenge.
I drew lines to make sure the sleeves were set correctly as there is no mark for where it attached to the shoulder seams as the shoulder seams are 1.5 – 2 inches further back than normal and angled…very vintage I guess? They included a notch where the two piece sleeve seams are supposed to join the body but that is a joke as well. Notice the side seams are also positioned way to the back by about 3-4 inches, almost princess seams! Vintage?
Here is the shorter lapel but without any facings and the one collar pinned on.
Can you see the dart from the body on the under collar? Then the seam from the collar crossing that? What a holy mess! It is nothing like the artist’s rendering on the envelope.
At least the sleeves sit OK but my oh my they are wide and way too long…again vintage? At least when pinned, the double breasted fronts close, but on the pattern, it says they can be single-breasted using the one and only front pattern piece…really?
To keep from looking clown-like, I am tapering the sleeves and removing 3 inches in width and also 3-4 inches in length as there are cuffs to be attached later.
Have to drop the back neck one inch:
If you make this jacket, you have to like seeing a dart here and have to cut an additional upper collar to cover this lower one:
You will also have to figure out where the center front is on both front pieces to line them up. I drew a vertical line where the center front should be between the marks for the closures.
Here is the preferred version, deeper shawl collar with all 3 closures matching.
So let’s make that front facing/upper collar missing piece shall we? Lay some tracing paper over the top and draw the collar with the facing about 4 inches wide…I’m guessing here. Add seam allowances to the inside curved edge.
Making a lining is the same, more tissue paper and trace it and add seam allowances to attach to the facing.
The back gets its own lining and a center back pleat. Even though the jacket center back seam is curved, the lining will be cut on the fold and the waist area will be sewn shut a little for shaping. The lining will not have a little shaped neck facing as in other jackets.
OK, that’s the beginning of the pattern work…how about the fabrics?
Mr Mole was adamant about this…Burgundy wide wale corduroy and black satin quilted lapels. Do you know any online shops who carry wide wale corduroy? After a day of searching the internet, I found seller in Australia who was willing to send me 3 yards after he orders it from…South Korea!
So far I have had a nice slow start to the wedding season but it will not be without a few “howlers” as Kim calls them!
We are expecting snow and sleet today and the gold finches are eating up a storm at the feeders in preparation for Spring flirting and mating. The males are getting their bright yellow feathers to attract the ladies!